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CAPITOL ALERT 


Multicultural California leads nation in 
linguistic complexity 


HIGHLIGHTS 

Just 56 percent of Californians speak English at home 

Spanish most used non-English language 
185 languages spoken in Los Angeles region 



Breanna Sanchez, 9, performs with Folklorico Calli at an event in celebration of National 
Hispanic Heritage Month on Oct. 14, 2012 in Sacramento. Renee C. Byer - 
rbyer@sacbee.com 

BY DAN WALTERS 

d walters@sacbee. com 

California’s cultural complexity, unmatched by any other state, is 
on graphic display in a new Densus Bureau report. 

Just 56 percent of the 35 million Californians over the age of 4 
speak only English at home, the Census Bureau study found, 
proportionately far fewer than residents of any other state. 

Not surprisingly, of the 44 percent who speak some language 
other than English at home, two-thirds speak Spanish, the study, 
covering the years 2009-2013, determined. Latinos are now 
California’s largest ethnic group. 

Accordingly, the study also found that among largest 
metropolitan areas, the Los Angeles region featured the nation’s 
second highest number of languages spoken, 185, with 54 
percent of its residents over 4 years old speaking some language 
other than English at home. 

The New York area had largest number of languages spoken, 
192, but its percentage of non-English users, 38 percent, was far 
smaller than those in the Los Angeles region. 

Among other culturally complex states, Texas was second to 
California’s 44 percent in the proportion of residents speaking 
something other than English at home, 35 percent, followed by 
New York at 30 percent and Florida at 28 percent. 

Overall, the study found at least 350 languages being spoken in 
the nation, including 150 Native American languages. 

While Spanish is by far the most common non-English language 
spoken by Californians at home (10.1 million residents), Chinese 
is second at 1 million, followed by Tagalog (Philippines) at 
764,743, Vietnamese at 521,534 and Korean at 372,742. 

The least-spoken are mostly dozens of Native American 
languages, with Navajo, at 1,401, the most used of those. 

Dan Walters: 916-321-1195 , dwalters@sacbee.com, @WaltersBee 


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Amy Chance 
Political editor 

achance@sacbee.com 

@Amy_Chance 

Dan Smith 
Capitol bureau chief 

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@DanielSnowSmith 

Jim Miller 

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Capitol Alert editor 

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David Siders 
Brown administration 

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@davidsiders 

Christopher Cadelago 
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@ccadelago 

Jeremy B. White 
Legislature 

jwhite@sacbee.com 

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Alexei Koseff 
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akoseff@sacbee.com 

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